tv Politics Nation MSNBC November 14, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm EST
work. terrorist suspects, gay people. they all propoeds the worst people they don't line. joy at the misery of others. indeed, j indeed. they suffer and die. we survive and get on. fa-la-la-la-la. politics station with al sharpton starts right now. >> justice is thomas and scalia. appearances do matter. supreme conflict. the supreme court approves the obama health care law, just as conservative justices thomas and skalia go to a fund-raiser for right wing legal group. how can hay not recuse themselves in the case. congressmen on the question. is the fix already in? >> i know that's not the person
he is. he totally respects women. >> mrs. cain stands by her man. but new poll numbers show republicans like newt on their piece of pie. >> this is a wild risk. okay. who knows what the polls will be. >> nia malika henderson on the gop's ever changing pallete. new questions about the judge who let jerry sandusky walk. wait until you hear how she's connected to this disgraced ex-coach. and chilling video of sandusky talking about kids. >> how did it all start? basically because i'm a frustrated playground director, i guess. >> plus, it's 3:00 a.m., do you know where the gop candidates are? >> are you becky, becky, becky, becky standstand?
>> these guys would be funding if they weren't so scary. politics nation starts right now. >> welcome to "politics nation." i'm al sharpton. tonight's lead. the announcement we've been waitinging for. the supreme court has agreed to decide the fate of the biggest achievement of the obama presidency, the health care law. it's likely to be the most important ruling since bush versus gore, with a decision expected during the presidential election. what hangs in the valance is coverage for tens of millions of americans. that's now in the hands of nine justices. and two of them have clear disturbing conflicts of interest. just hours after deciding to hear the case, justices clarence thomas and anthony scalia spoke
at a fund-raiser for the conservative leader group the federalist society. the same night. scalia at at one table. thomas at another table. at the table right in between them was paul clemons, the key lawyer against the obama health care law they had just decided to rule on. they were rubbing shoulders with the man leading the fight to kill the president's health care law, the lawyer who will likely argue the case before them next year. it's not the first time scalia met him either. he got his start clerking for scalia. for justice thomas, headlining a fund raising dinner is just the beginning of his long list of conflicts of interest. his wife, virginia jenny thomas is a major lobbyist for the conservative groups.
including the te party. >> washington is broken. it's addicted to spending. it's addicted to power. america is at risk, and i didn't know how far left president obama and the leadership was going to take us. maybe we did get president obama so we can wake this country up, and you guys are the political first responders, and i love the tea party movement. >> the clear focus is to stop the obama agenda. >> the focus is to stop the obama agenda? mrs. thomas also founded a tea party group that supports the repeal of if affordable care act. saying it, quote, kills insurance coverage for children. as for justice thomas, he's already said he and his wife agree on everything. >> we love each other. because we love the same thing. we leave in the same thing.
we are focused on liberty. i love and admire her for that. >> don't get me wrong. people have the right to advocate what they want. i've been an advocate all my life and remain one. to weigh the institution constitutionality of an issue where you have kpleer connections on one side. where members of your family are financially and personally connected. where you attend fund raising dinners the night you plan to hear a case. that's not advocacy. that's saying we're going to have health care decided not on a even playing field based on law, but we open ourselves up to the partisan and political biases of two members of the court. that, ladies and gentlemen, my fellow americans, should not be tolerated. joining me now is congressman
dogget, democrat from texas and one of the 74 lawmakers who called for justice thomas to recuse himself in the case. he's also a former state supreme court justice. also joining me, msnbc political analyst richard wolffe. congressman, let me start with you. how can we expect a fair ruling from justices who have such a blatant conflict of interest? >> well, on such an important case as this, clearly justice thomas should not be hearing the case with his wife being ambassador himself, described m ambassador with the agenda they have got. i think it's a very strong case in the court. to keep other american families out of court facing a bankruptcy judge because they have no health insurance. so i'm pleased they'll decide
this, but it's unfortunate that justice thomas would involve himself in the case. >> now richard. this is serious. this is clear. just played the sound bite where mrs. thomas spoke for herself about maybe president obama happened to wake this country up. we're not talking about some kind of interpretation, some marginal attack. this is a direct, frontal partisan attack. we might add that mr. thomas did not disclose his wife's connection and financial connection until challenged. how can he sit there and then, let me bring this up to you, let me show you this, tomorrow, tomorrow, there's a forum called the constitutionality of health care reform. sponsored by the federalist society. the exact organization that judge scalia and judge thomas keynoted their fund-raiser the other night.
>> well, let me separate out these two things because i think the federalist society has been pursuing conservative legal principles for many, many years, and it's no secret that these justices are ultra conservatives. that's what they are. i don't think the federalist society is going to influence them. but what you're talking about with justice thomas' wife is something different. it isn't even about the influence. a lot of lawyers, a lot of judges think they can have some sout of body experience. the lawyers on one side and everything else on the other. what you have with justice thomas' wife is the appearance, a strong appearance of a conflict of interest and the appearance of justice is something courts have taken into consideration for many decades if not centuries. it's as important. almost maybe as important as the execution of fair justice is the appearance of impartial justice. that's where i think justice thomas is in real trouble.
his wife can her have own opinions, but to be so active and so engaged and so public so really troubling. >> let me go back to you, congressman. the fact of the matter is this is not just about president obama, who clearly this is probably his major accomplishment in the first term or certainly among them. this is about the health care and insurance of america. 50 million uninsured. we're talking about the fact that if these judges, if these justices rule in a bias way, they will impact millions upon millions of people and into the future. this is very, very serious. >> absolutely. there are millions of americans at risk if the court should reject this plan. finally we have have a mechanism through the health care law to assure that families don't find themselves with the fine print of the insurance policy denying them coverage they thought they
had. being able to put their young person on the family policy. we have about a million more people from age 18 to 26 on policies this issues this year than last year, i think directly as a result of this health insurance law. the protection that it affords to seniors is really important and extending the solvency of the medicare trust fund for years is all a prt of a complex law that if you remove one part of it, the individual mandate, you stand to jeopardize the entire reform on which so many americans are fedepending. >> congressman, let me say this. many americans, and i'm one of them, didn't understand there was guidelines to members of the supreme court. let me show you guidelines that apply to federal judges and supposedly used for guidelines of the supreme court, but they're not mandated. these guidelines say any justice
judge or magistrate judge in the united states shall disqualify himself at any proceeding in which his impartiality might be questioned. this is enforced by judges and others. it's not inforcible by the supreme court. it is understood that we wound hope they would stand up and do the right thing. this is outrageous. >> it's really a problem. it does cast a cloud over this proceedings. if he should happen to be a deciding vote, it raises a real appearance of impropriety. and i think as your guest said, it really rises to a different level given her extended involvement and outspoken comments against the president and his agenda far beyond the right wing approach or the federalist society. >> now, richard, the also you sigh on the same guidelines, it
says this. this law also states that a judge may attend fund raising events of law-related and other organizations although the judge may not be a speaker, a guest of honor, or featured on the program of such an event. well, if the supreme court judges were operating based on the spirit of this, then judge scalia and judge thomas could not have been speakers at thursday night's event where mr. clemens sat at the table between the two of them. this is blatantly saying we hay have the right to our own discretion and we just decide we're going to do what we want to do. >> yeah, you know, chief justice roberts really has to weigh in here. there are lawyers on all sides of the guide who say the supreme court isn't just about deciding if something is constitutional or not. they are setting the lead, the
example, the model for judges throughout the system. and throughout the lower level. it's really up to the chief justice there as the top of this legal system to say we do have standards and appearances matter and we have we've seen justice thomas get into this situation before about fund-raisers and political activity. i think that the chief justice himself respects the institution of the supreme court and wants his leg city to be one where his values are upheld. let's see if he weighs in. >> let me say this congressman and richard, i remember bush versus gore. so pardon me if i don't become a little skeptical of whether the court will not do the partisan thing. i am not again talking about this as a democrat. i'm not talking about this any other way than 50 million uninsured americans that need this, the millions of americans in the future that do not need
to see this ruled as unconstitutional. i said it before, i say it again, this is about all of us and the well being of americans. it's not about obama. it's about our mama. this can be a problem for mama. >> it really is. and for everyone on medicare, for everyone who is counting on getting access to the health care that they've been denied previously, worried about a child born with a disability, worried about an illness that afflicted a family. we don't want to see more and more families ending up in the kour themselves in front of bankruptcy judge knowing that health care costs have been a leading cause of bankruptcy, a leading cause of credit card debt. these are families that are counting on a fair hearing. if justice thomas already made up his mind, he ought not be hearing the case. i would like to see him recuse
himself. the other colleagues should weigh in. we will have to find some type of remedy if this pattern on such important issues continues with justice thomas. >> no doubt about it. congressman, richard wolffe, thanks to both of you for being with me this evening. ahead, herman cain's wife stands by her man, but others are fleeing to newt gingrich. is this a reality show or what? plus, the republican party ripped apart over waterboarding. would you trust any one of them with the 3:00 a.m. call? you're watching politics nation on msnbc. ♪ [ female announcer ] find yourself sometimes cleaning up after your dishcloth? bounty extra soft can help. it's super durable, and in this lab test bounty extra soft
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children are safe and asleep. >> you advocate the elimination of the department of energy. if you eliminate the department of energy. >> glad you remembered it. >> your vote will decide who answers that call. >> if we reelect barack obama, iran will have a nuclear weapon. and if we elect mitt romney, me as the next president, they will not have a nuclear weapon. >> whether it's someone who knows the world's leaders, knows the military. >> when they ask me who the president, i'm going to say, you know, i don't know. >> mr. cain won't know who is on the other end of the line. but what's most frightening is this field wants to go back to a poll pollty of torture. >> if i were president i would be willing to use waterboarding. it was very effective. >> i would return to that policy. i don't' it as torture. i see it as an enhanced interrogation technique.
>> i'm for using the techniques not torture, but using the techniques we know will extract the information to save young american lives. ly be for it until i die. >> folks, taken from a man that took down the world's most wanted terrorist, as americans we're above waterboarding. >> let me just say this, they're wrong. waterboarding is torture. it's contrary to america's traditions. it's contrary to our ideals. that's not who we are. that's now how with earpt. we don't need it in order to prosecute the war on terrorism. >> we have matthew sander who conducted more than 1,300 interrogations. he's also the author of kill or capture. and dana, columnist for the
"washington post." matthew, you're an expert at interrogations. are republicans right? is waterboarding effective to save american lives? >> it's absolutely not effective. in fact, the evidence against waterboarding is very simply put in the case of khalid sheikh muhammad who was waterboarded 183 times and lied and told them in osama bin laden's cukourier retired. it slowed down our ability to conduct operations. >> say that again slowly because i want people to get this. he was tortured. he was waterboarded and he gave wrong information? >> that's correct. he was waterboarded 183 times, and he lied to interrogators and
he said the courier was retired, when in fact, he wasn't retired. and our best chance to find osama bin laden at that time was khalid shei khalid sheikh mohammed who refused to cooperate because he was tortured. >> when you look @ fact that even senator john mccain said that he doesn't agree with waterboarding and, in fact, he was -- made this statement about his fellow republicans. said he was very disappointed by statements supporting waterboarding. waterboarding is torture. this is john mccain, the land standing barrier. >> watching the debate i got the sense they weren't debating to be the republican presidential nominee but auditioning to be the next grand exquizisto.
he would talk with reluctance to use whatever techniques are necessary to elicit the information. this went well beyond that. it was almost lustful about the benefits of waterboarding. and i think that you're seeing a republican party ha that has gone significantly beyond where bush and cheney were. >> maybe they are trying, mr. alexander to pander to some extreme crowd because they have an uphill battle to put either of their either credentials against him. may, successful raid on osama bin laden. september. the death of anwar al awlaki. october, libyan rebels kill kad g gadhafi. when you have these kinds of things that the president, who
they said would be weak on foreign policy, and weak in this area, how do you run against them? i guess by trying to go to an extreme and act as though something he doesn't believe in could work when all the evidence that you've just given some concrete examples are to the contrary. >> that's correct, al. i believe these candidates that are pro-torture, for bridnging back waterboarding are trying the to make political points. it was signed and pushed through congress by president ronald reagan. the stance against torture was in this country and to make it u.s. law by having it ratified by congress was nirlly a republican passed initiative. so, you know, these candidates are really trying to score points with republican voters, but let's also commend representative paul and mr. john
huntsman for standing up and saying, no, this isn't what america is about and that torture is inconsistent with american values and interrogator are saying we don't need it. >> you're right to point out two of them did say. let me go to you. many of us on different sides of the political spectrum, right and left may disagree with a political policy. i've disagreed with the intervention into sovereign states, but explain to me, dana, what it is that mr. cain stands for when he attacks president obama on his invasion of libya. i want you to interpret this for me and for my fellow americans. >> so you agreed with president obama on libya, or not? >> libya.
i do not agree with the way he handled it for the following reasons. that's a different line. got all this stuff twirling around in my head. specifically, whether you ask me that i agree or disagree. >> dana, you are my expert in cain language. could you explain that to me? >> reverend al, i would love to but i have a lot of stuff swirling in hi head. you really get the sense you're watching a spoof of it. for people wo satirize politics it's getting hard to do better than rick perry did to himself and now herman cain did to himself in this video. as to the torture, the idea for a republican audience is to
criticize the president for everything and anything. the problem in libya is it turned out so far to work out as the president -- >> i don't have a plob with them disagreeing with the policy. i have a problem with him not knowing why he disagrees. in fairness to mr. cain, his campaign released a statement on why he was so incomprehensive. he says the video is being taken out of context. he was taking questions for 30 to 40 minutes on four hours of sleep. he didn't say anything. well, i'll show you how the polls are going. he may have time for four nights sleep soon. thanks for your time this evening. >> thank you. >> ahead, herman cain brings out the entire family and gloria allred brings out a former boyfriend of the accusers, and get ready for some tiffanies.
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nation. the god father of pizza is finally starting to feel the heat of the republican race. two weeks into the herman cain sexual harassment swan dal, his popularity is plummeting. a new poll shows cain has fallen from front-runner to third. behind romney and newt gingrich. cain is down a whopping 11 points since last month. this news comes out as the former boyfriend of cain accuser sharon bialic came forward with lawyer gloria allred to say cain did ne her despise the denials. >> sharon did meet and spend time with mr. cain. sharon introduced me to mr. cain. mr. cain invited sharon and i to an exclusive after-party. at that party mr. cain engaged
both of us in conversation. >> if desperate times for team kan cain, and now they're calling in the big guns. cain's wife gloria, who we vn seen once since his husband announced his candidacy just sat down to talk about the herman cain she knows. >> to hear such graphic allegations and know that that would have been something totally disrespectful of her as a woman, and i know that's not the person he is. he totally respects women. >> she's standing by her man. how long will republicans stick around? joining me now is a "washington post" national reporter who also writes for lbs. 2012 blog and maria theresa kumar, executive
director of vote latino an and msnbc contributor. is herman cain's pizza cooked? >> well, that certainly seems to be what the polls are showing. his stumble, for instance, today on libya, that is certainly not going to help him. one of the things he said is it would probably take voters about two weeks to really start to change their mind about herman cain. that seems to be what they're seeing in their poll. i think the question right now, the question last week is how does perry come back from his stumble? i think the question for herman cain is how to put together an argument to the voters he's seen as a commander in chief, a viable presidential option rather than a lightning rod for the far right around the sexual harassment allegations. >> well, if you look at the
polls, maria, you see that the surprising beneficiary of cain's drop is newt gingrich. i mean, when you look at the fact that newt gingrich now has topped one of the polls and has become the flavor of the month when just a couple of months ago, a few months ago, we were talking about newt owning a jewelry store. staff leaving him in several states and newt went on vacation with his wife and greece and now he's gone up 14 points. what is this telling us? >> it's telling us the republican party doesn't want mitt romney. you nailed it. $100,000 shopping spree at tiffanies. already four women coming forwards. on top after that you have texas perry who seems to be the lone star for texas is all the sudden can't remember his own platform. it spells big trouble for mitt
romney. he still looks like the shining star. he's likely to get the nominee. but he's going to spend every single penny in every caucus between now and in january. that's telling about the republican nominee process. romney, for whatever reason is cannot be the darling at this time. >> mia, it appears maria is onto something here because despite all of this fall and this, of course, we're looking at polls before this bizarre interview about libya, which is almost equal to forgetting your third point of the agencies you want to close from rick perry. maybe he decided he wanted to e quail if not one up him. but he kept raising money. herman cain, during the fall, raised $9 million. so it seems like the message is we -- even candidates with,
let's say serious questions, we don't want willard. >> that's certainly what it seems to be at this point. i think looking ahead for mitt romney, he's got to be worried. not only about the poll numbers. he's got somebody in rick perry stumbled in the cmbc debate. but he has also has $15 million in the bank. perry is known as somebody who can really run a negative campaign. he's got 15 million reasons to dump all negative opposition research that he's collected on mitt romney, really dump it in the early states. iowa, south carolina and new hampshire. that's what we're going to see ahead. he had a huge ad buy on fox. the same in south carolina. last going to be worrisome for mitt romney and could give him troubles in the days ahead. >> maria, one of the things you and i have been concerned about in our individual careers has been bias. and one of the things that we had to deal with in the face of
confro confronting globally is muslims islamiphobia. herman cain had an interesting announcement. he stated, quote, i've had one very twel known muslim voice say to me directly that a majority of muslims shared the extremist views. gq reporters. a majority, herman cain, yes, a majority. now, what does this kind of language do to the average american-muslim in the country if we start broad painting that the majority of anybodies become extremists? >> well, the next president of the united states, if that's what he wants to be, has to make sure we're all inclusive and all american. his charge is not that dissimilar from basically saying
that african-americans have been brainwash by the democratic party. not only is it harmful. but it doesn't provide inclusive dialogue. and he's wrong. when you read the karan, it believes islam is a peaceful religion. so i think it is telling that he's only -- it sounded like his polling -- his polling numbers were won. and that one basically created the most extreme outlieer. that's something one should pick up on. he's not thoughtful in the case. >> that's the thing that disturbs me most. the extremism here. cain attacking african-american, now attacking muslims. perry going all the way about executions and the whole idea of not even losing any sleep over whether he ever made a mistake. it's like they're going to the most extreme elements to appeal to to try to win the nomination to go for the white house. that scares me on what it says
to the future of american politics if we get into giving some kind of extreme weight to start winning nominations. >> i think if you look back at where cain has been campaigning, if you can recall what he's been doing campaigning, going to, you know, states like alabama, for instance, he's been speaking to tea party rallies. that's the language on a more national stage that he's kbused to speaking. that's what we're hearing from him. not a broad vision of america. not a broad vision of the relationship they have internationally. they're having a problem tran cigs from a more general election campaign because they're so focused on this pea teart base. so focused on the extreme wings of their party. in fact, this is going to be a problem. it's a reason they're plummeting in it will pos. they've been playing so specifically in this small fraction of their party. >> nia, you're a little biased.
you're used to candidates that understand and then answer your questions. thanks to both of you for your time. >> thank you. >> ahead, outrage at penn state. new questions about the judge who gave the alleged child molester reduced bail. and chilling new video of the accused coach talking about his work with kids. a quarter of a century ago. stay with us. [ man ] i got this citi thank you card
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and nbc interview from 1987 from the alleged child molester and his chilling hearing. that's next. ♪ ♪ ...don't matter what you saying. ♪ ♪ don't matter what you do. ♪ my heart is yours for keeping. ♪ ♪ do with it what you choose. ♪ and you ooohoohooh... ♪ you are my heart... [ male announcer ] vera wang love. ♪ oh yes you do... the new diamond bridal collection from vera wang. exclusively at zales. with thermacare heatwraps. thermacare works differently. it's the only wrap with patented heat cells that penetrate deep to relax, soothe, and unlock tight muscles. for up to 16 hours of relief, try thermacare.
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♪ come with me, let's go ♪ ♪ come with me, let's go ♪ ♪ cruise like a norwegian ♪ we're back with new outrage in the horrific penn state. new video of jerry sandusky talking about his work with kids in an interview with nbc news from 1987. >> i really enjoy the personal conta contact. i get a lot of perm contact in my life. there are many children who could benefit from the second mile. woe would like to serve as many children as we can. one of things would be the trust
that's developed. what we're trying to be a is true friend. someone who cares about them. someone who enjoys them. >> today we learned the judge who let sandusky walk out of jail on reduced bail failed to reveal her ties to his charity. the online profile of judge leslie dutchcot says she volunteers. also the ceo of the charity, a man named jack raykovitz resigned. according according to grand jury reports he was told in 2002 that he had inappropriate conduct with a 10-year-old boy. yet sandusky continued to
interact with children for another sex years. joining me now is bill fallon, a form prosecutor. he has dealt with many sec abuse cases involving the catholic church. thanks for being here. first, bill, what about this judge? was there a conflict of interest here? >> certainly from what we know. it's something that should have been told to the parties here. so whether it rises to real conflict of interest under the statue chtes statutes, i have to tell sh, i would be taking a notion. if it's true, if the facts as present rd true, this judge had an obligation to say these guys are my guys. he's the head of this organization and quite frankly he started it. i know he only works there now. i think it makes the judiciary look bad. it's not whether something is improper, but the appearance of
impropriety. >> that's what we've been kbeg is the appearance, as you say. we've been dealing with this. you look at the fact that the prosecutors asked for $500,000 bail, ankle bracelet. she gave back and gave him only $100,000 bail. no ankle bracelet. she volunteered for his charity. never discloses that to the prosecution. and donated $500 to $1,000. never exposed that. i mean, this has all of the appearances of a conflict, and whether the letter of the law there makes it that or not, i don't see how you get around the fact that she had an obligation to put that out there. particularly since she was denying the request of the prosecutor. >> i agree with you. judges all around the united states basically lowball bail on child molesters, child rapists, as we have here allegations of that. that's the tragedy of it. on the other hand, when up this kind of relationship f you will,
the appearance of inpro proity as i said, it should have been noted and left to the prosecutor to say i want the judge off this case. again, not because there is a conflict necessarily, but certainly at a minimum is the appearance of conflict. and certainly when we see that film i just have to throw this in, when you saw the film, if i'm the prosecutor on the case, that shows sandusky, that's my opening statement to the jury. >> now here's something else that bill, we have in. an e-mail last week, just last week, from mike mcqueary, who is the man at the center of this in 2002 that witnessed allegedly witnessed the raping of this 10-year-old boy, walked in with the young man's -- young boy's hands up. he's naked being raped according to the grand jury report. and he said, quote, in his e-mail, i did the right thing. i didn't just turn and run. i made sure it stopped.
i had to make quick, tough decisions. now, that is an exclusive to nbc. but it really does not -- is not consistent with the grand jury reports of his actions. >> well, having read the grand jury minutes, al, he says i went, i told the people. i did what i had to do under the law. first of all, he's going to been an important witness in the case, why the prosecution may want to treat him gingerly. this is the problem with the la. even if somebody up the chain has to report to the department of social services. no one has to report to police. this is the outrage. it's why children continue to be raped. it's why children in these cases went on and on. that's where the law has to be changed. not just in pennsylvania. but everywhere. the culture of corruption to keep this quiet has to be changed in pennsylvania, but elsewhere, too. >> bill fallon thanks so much for your time.
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the god father of pizza is bringing us deep to the psychological warld of pizza. we told you about the interview he gave to "gq" magazine. he was asked about pizza toppings. in true cain style it was somewhat puzzling. the more toppings a man has on his pizza, i believe the more manly he is. because the more manly man is not afraid of abundance. a manly man don't want it piled high with vegetables. he would that a sissy pizza. >> can you believe we have a man running for president talking about sissy pizzas? ♪ imagine there's no pizza ♪ i couldn't if i tried
>> then he moved to dessert. when asked what flavors hi rivals might be. cain said mitt romney is plain vanilla. rick perry is rocky road and michele bachmann is tutti tutti frutti. there was no way in the world willard could commit to one. if he could be any ice cream, he would be banana nut cookies and cream, rum raisin, coconut, mint chocolate chip, strawberry, with rainbow sprinkle on top. in a cup. no wait -- in a cone. by not only do i believe that mr. cain is wrong about the flavors. he once talked about him being hagdas. when i was a little boy, we used